Some say love lasts for three years. Beyond that, you either make it or break it, apparently. Should this hypothesis be applied to the Kenekt Québec Song Camps, we can conclude that the third edition predicts a very fruitful, long-term relationship.
From April 29 to May 4, 2018, at Rabaska Lodge – a charming resort located on the banks of the majestic Baskatong Lake, in the Laurentians, four hours north of Montréal – seventeen SOCAN songwriters and producers participated in SOCAN A&R Representative Widney Bonfils’ well-planned event. Designed to stimulate their inspiration, interaction, and creativity, the third annual Kenekt Québec aimed to force the music creators out of their comfort zones, while also giving them the space and freedom to create great songs in teams each day.
Based on a theme revealed daily (pictures, countries, sensations, sounds), the 17 creators – who were divided into five new and different teams each day – had to write and produce a song to present during the nightly listening sessions. “We wanted to make sure they all started each session on equal footing,” said Bonfils, “and also avoid them wasting hours agreeing on a subject. The themes helped them focus their creativity, but they also provoked something essential: the exchange of ideas. They had to begin each session by talking about the feelings and sensations that these themes provoked in them. That led them to quickly bond, and allowed them to be more productive – and as happy as can be.”
The 2018 Kenekt Québec camp allowed for highly stimulating experiments, unexpected collaborations, and moments of pure creative bliss that have left permanent memories in the minds of each and every member of the group, as accounts gathered in the wake of the event confirm.
KARIM OUELLET: “I got to the camp in the middle of the writing process for a new album, and I was a little apprehensive. That dissipated immediately, on day one, as I met people and found we were quite on the same page. Those few days of creating music are forever etched in my memory. Nothing but good times!”
ARIANE BRUNET: “One of the most amazing experiences in my career, if not the most amazing. I had no expectations, and I was blown away by everyone’s talent, rigour, and above all else, their openness and heart. By allowing us to blur the lines between styles and genres, and by taking us out of our comfort zones, we discovered ourselves. I discovered new skills and delights in unexpected ways. That’s part of what makes this experience so rewarding.”
JÉRÔME COUTURE: “What Widney, the SOCAN team, and everyone else have given me is immense. You’ve allowed me to re-connect with the naiveté of a young man passionate about music. You’ve allowed me to play music with you. No biases, no limits, no labels. And for that, I thank you. This camp was the most amazing gift in the world, because I was able to create without the pressure to perform and without the infamous record label deadline. I was able to just have a blast ,and participate on several songs. I was finally able to do what I do every day since I turned eight. It was like a dream come true!”
INGRID ST-PIERRE: “From one team to the next, our universes met, and we explored each other’s creative territories and landscapes. We inhabited them and felt comfortable. We all met at the edge of those universes, and built songs shaped like houses. I learned to know myself even more on an artistic level. I also learned that I’m able to go anywhere, and that the only barriers that exist are in me, like my self-confidence, which too often frays. On a human level, I leaned even more.”
NEO MAESTRO: “I wish to thank SOCAN for this amazing experience. Being far away from the rest of the world, and surrounded by such talented people, helped me grow as a person and as an artist. We all came from different scenes and cultures, and that led to songs we will remember our whole life. Part of me is still at Rabaska. Thank you for everything.”
GUILLAUME GUILBAULT: “Besides allowing me to meet people I really wanted to meet, the Kenekt Camp also allowed me to collaborate with artists I would likely not have had a chance to meet in my usual circles. We created an unlikely, yet incredibly rewarding family. I will keep essential lessons from Kenekt on a human and professional level. I can honestly say that the Kenekt camp changed my career path for the better.”
RYMZ: “I love getting leaving big-city-stress behind and working on music from morning till night. I also appreciated the fact that everyone at the camp was a seasoned professional.”
KORALY: “The Kenekt camp was a life-changing experience and I will never forget it. Before the camp, I was stressed by the idea of being with people By the end, I was crying, because we were all going our separate ways. Being surrounded by people who are just as passionate about music as I am, and creating songs together, truly is a gift. I grew, I opened my heart, I tried new musical styles, I found a new family and I found myself anew as an artist. Widney was the genius who gathered us and made us shine like stars. Thank you SOCAN for this unique and marvellous experience.”
SAMITO: “Something beyond music happened at Kenekt Québec Song Camp. And, while I still can’t fully understand what that thing is, I know for sure that a paradigm was broken and that’s f***in’ exciting! Thank you SOCAN, thank you Widney! You rock!!!”
CONNOR SEIDEL: “Kenekt was an amazing opportunity to let go of all inhibitions and create things I normally wouldn’t. I found myself jelling with artists and other writers completely out of my musical comfort zone, and really loving what we were writing. There was a deep emotional connection between all of us, and it translated into the music we wrote. Not only creatively rewarding, it was a great chance to create music that’s being released and pushed out to the world. I feel like I levelled up by surrounding myself with such amazing talent at Kenekt.”
As for Stéphanie Boulay – who even rapped in English on one of the songs created during that week – she even wrote a song as soon as she got home, and dedicated it to, and shared with, her camp colleagues and new friends. Once more, this was clearly a formidable creative and human experience.
“We were strangers when we arrived there, but we left as friends,” said Widney Bonfils, for whom it was the first Kenekt Camp experience as its organizer. “It was magnificent to see 17 people from various cultural and ethnic backgrounds work together, find common interests, and realize that our music is multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, and multi-genre. But above all, to realize that pearls are born out of our differences. Personally, I was touched by the open-mindedness and risk-taking of our participants. They stepped out of their comfort zones, and the result is impressive. Not only have we surpassed the expected number of songs produced – 27 instead of 20 – but we had the privilege of witnessing unexpected, yet very musically convincing collaborations. Everyone retained their own identity, and you can hear that on every one of the songs.”
Stay tuned in the coming months, as some of the songs created at the Kenekt Québec Camp could very well make their way to your ears!
See the Kenekt Québec 2018 photo album here.